Charming and quirky love story graces the Wilton Playshop stage


A “charming jewel of a musical” hits the Wilton Playshop stage next week, with the premiere of She Loves Me, a Broadway adaptation of Miklós Lászlo’s 1937 play Illatszertár — also known as Parfumerie.
The musical revolves around two shop employees, who are consistently at odds with each other, but are unknowingly each other’s secret admirer.
“It’s a feel-good, quirky musical so you’re going to walk away smiling and happy,” said Marcia Maslo, director. “It’s a love story and it’s just charming. I think anybody — even if they’re not a theater person, per se — will enjoy the musical.”
Of the approximately 30 people who auditioned in early December, 14 were selected to be part of the She Loves Me cast.
“We asked people to come prepared to sing a song of their choice. If we wanted them to stay, we asked them to read as a character from the show and then we had callbacks a couple days later, where people read with other actors,” explained Ms. Maslo, who has been involved in theater for more than 30 years.
“During callbacks, the production team got a chance to look at the talent and see what chemistry comes about with different actors and see who really looks and sounds like the part — or at least how we envision the part.”
Weather and illness made rehearsals — which began the first Sunday of January — a bit difficult, said Ms. Maslo.
“I try to be very respectful of people’s time, being that this is community theater and people have full-time jobs and families and whatnot, so we try to keep the rehearsal schedule to three nights a week,” she said, “but unfortunately, we had to add some rehearsals.”
Despite the challenges, Ms. Maslo said, the cast is in “really good shape.”
“We have everything choreographed, the music is in really good shape and now we’re at the point where we just run things,” she said, “which means we run different scenes or an entire act or we run the entire show.”

The music


She Loves Me is the 30th show Dan Ringuette has musically directed, which means he is responsible for all the music in the show.
“Besides the beautiful ballads and up-tempo numbers, you’ll hear a bit of Hungarian czardas — the show is set in Hungary, after all,” he said, “a little rhumba music, a tango, a bolero set as a patter song and a terrific group number that accelerates to a frantic pace as it counts down the shopping days until Christmas.”
Before auditions were even held, Mr. Ringuette said, he worked with the score to familiarize himself with the music and “sort out such things as the required vocal ranges for each character and who’s singing in each number.”
During rehearsals, Mr. Ringuette said, he “took a lot of time at the beginning to teach all the parts.”
“As the rehearsal process has progressed, I’ve been reviewing the music when there’s time, and giving notes to the actors as we put the scenes on their feet, so to speak.
“For a couple of the more difficult numbers, I’ve created practice recordings of each vocal part and have shared them with the cast,” he said.

Teamwork


With any type of production, teamwork is required, said Ms. Maslo, who works with Mr. Ringuette, choreographer Todd Santa Maria and stage manager Laura Ploss every day.
“You’re only as strong as your team is and I think we have a really strong team in place,” she said. “The four of us work extremely close together and we all communicate really well.”
Mr. Ringuette agreed, adding that “working with Marcia and Todd has been terrific.”
“Though I’ve worked with both of them numerous times, we’ve never actually directed together,” he continued, “and the support of the rest of the production staff has been very strong, especially with Laura as our stage manager, who’s always on top of everything.”
Mr. Ringuette said working on the production has given him the opportunity to get to know some “wonderfully talented people, and to work with some very dear friends.”
“The cast is really great, and so much fun to work with, bringing exciting ideas to the table,” he said.

Opening night


She Loves Me premieres Friday, Feb. 27, and Mr. Ringuette said he hopes the audiences enjoy the show just as much as the cast and crew enjoyed putting it together.
“It’s such a cleverly written show that’s funny and poignant, and the music is just beautiful,” he said. “I think audiences will love it.”
Ms. Maslo said, it’s nice to see the production “come to life.”
“We have a really talented cast and there are some really good relationships on stage, and in spite of some of the challenges we’ve had, everyone’s worked really, really hard,” she said, “so it’s really nice to see it blossom and come together.”
Ms. Maslo said the most exciting time for an actor is “when you’re on stage and you get a reaction from the audience.”
“That could be a lot of things — that could be applause, that could be laughter, it could be tears, and I think in this show, you have a little bit of all of that,” she said.
“I hope the cast enjoys what they’re doing, they showcase their talents and that they evoke a positive response from the audience — and I think they will, for sure.”
The Wilton Playshop production of She Loves Me will show:

  • Friday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m.

  • Saturday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m.

  • Sunday, March 1, at 4 p.m.

  • Thursday, March 5, at 8 p.m.

  • Friday, March 6, at 8 p.m.

  • Saturday, March 7, at 8 p.m.

  • Sunday, March 8, at 4 p.m.

  • Thursday, March 12, at 8 p.m.

  • Friday, March 13, at 8 p.m.

  • Saturday, March 14, at 8 p.m.


Tickets are $25-30 and may be purchased at wiltonplayshop.org.